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Historic Labor Landslide In Queensland Election; Coalition Decimated; One Nation Wreaks Havoc On The Right

Queensland’s Labor Premier, Peter Beattie, has routed the coalition parties in an historic election landslide in which the ALP is likely to win around 65 seats in the 89-seat Parliament.

BeattieThe election has reduced the Opposition parties to rumps. The Liberal Party is only assured of two seats and the National Party ten.

One Nation is likely to win two seats and four others have been won by independents.

Opposition Leader, Rob Borbidge, has conceded defeat in his Surfers Paradise electorate, losing to a 19-year-old Labor candidate. Liberal Leader, David Watson, is struggling to hold his seat.

The Labor Party has polled 49.3% of the primary vote, it’s highest vote ever in Queensland. Unlike last weekend’s Western Australian election, where One Nation and Green preferences contributed to the defeat of the coalition government led by Richard Court, Queensland’s ALP victory is due to a significant increase in the primary vote.

The ALP has won an additional 20 seats or more and retained the 45 seats it held before the election.

The National Party has polled 13.6% of the primary vote, a loss of 1.5% from its 1998 result. It has lost half of its previous 20 seats.

The Liberal Party has polled 14.1% of the primary vote, a loss of 2% from its 1998 result. It is only assured of winning 2 seats, a loss of 7 since the last election. The Liberal Party also lost 5 seats in 1998.

One Nation has polled 8.9% of the primary vote, down from its 22.7% in 1998, although it did not contest as many seats this time.

Other parties and independents have polled 14.1%. Whereas 28% of Western Australians voted last week for parties other than Labor, Liberal or Nationals, 23% of Queenslanders have turned against the main parties, although the most damage has been done to the conservatives.

The Hanson forces, fractured into One Nation, the City Country Alliance and a range of independents have divided the conservative vote like never before, although the 10.4% increase in the ALP’s primary vote is the main reason for the lopsided election result.

The Liberal leader, David Watson, attributed the blame for the coalition defeat on the rebuff suffered by Borbidge at the hands of the National Party. Despite pushing for One Nation to be placed last on National Party how-to-vote cards, about half of the National Party electorates opted to place One Nation ahead of the ALP.

Borbidge, using words reminiscent of Richard Nixon, delivered what he said would be his “last press conference”. In a gracious speech of concession, the National Party leader warned against the dangers of “flirting with the ugly extremes of Australian politics.”

Peter Beattie claimed victory in a subdued manner, issuing a stern warning to the new Labor MPs, claiming that many people voted Labor for the first time in their lives in this election and that their continuing support had to be earned.

The Labor victory is all the more remarkable given the difficulty the party faced following the revelations of electoral malpractice late last year. The Deputy Premier and a number of backbenchers, including former State Secretary and member for Woodridge, Mike Kaiser, were forced out of parliament and the ALP as a judicial inquiry investigated assorted allegations, and a federal parliamentary committee run by the Liberal Party produced weeks of damaging headlines.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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